I was driving up Burnside and noticed an old woman shuffling along the sidewalk. Neatly dressed, with hair brushed and parted, she toddled into the Kaiser center cane in hand. I watched as the light remained red, seeing myself in the not so distant future as another old woman, finishing my life-race.
It is a mercy to see my own mortality. Old age is said to be “the most surprising of all the things that can happen to a person” (Trotsky or Tolstoy).
I don’t want to be surprised.
I don’t want to look back on my years and think, “I’ve wasted it!”
How can I know I’m doing enough, living as I ought, making my mark? What if I never see a convert, or a climax, or even a shred of evidence that I made an eternal difference? Is there something I’m missing or should be working at instead? What does it mean to live in the mundane for His glory?
These are the question reverberating in my mind but find deep echoes in my very soul.
How do I then live?
I go to the truth to find an answer, for while the fundamentals are the same for every believer, the specifics are unique to each.
“For as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (I Peter 4:10) The gifts are like multi-colored gems, each fitted to a specific purpose. I have a unique gift, unduplicable, given for His glory.
There was once a story Jesus told, the last parable in Mathew before his impending death. The master calls his servants and entrusts them with certain “talents”—we are familiar with the story. The Master finally returns and rebukes the one that hid his talent in the ground. While not all of us are equally gifted, we are all called to be faithful. I may not be a 5-star evangelist or pastor, but I am called to be, perhaps, a 1-talent photographer. When I think on what it means to live a significant life, I am reminded that, unlike our earthly minds, Heaven has a different accounting system. What is UP is down, to be high is to be low, to be significant is to be insignificant. It isn’t your converts-it’s your faithfulness.
As my brother Steve explained to me in an apt illustration, on the football field, you could be the best linebacker ever in existence and never score a touchdown. It’s not his position, it’s not his gifting to run and catch—but it’s his strength is to stay and push. How do I embrace the daily grind of worshiping God in my own position?
Remember who you are, and what you’ve been given. Enough comparing, relish in your strengths vs. minimizing your weaknesses. Celebrate your unique gifts and use them as a bond-slave of Christ. Whether I photograph, or teach, or change oil, or care for children, or pastor, or study or anything else…do it as unto the Lord, for His name not my own.
I do not occupy myself with things too great or too wonderful for me, but still and quiet my soul before the Lord, like a weaned child. Unfretful, undemanding, at rest. (Psalm 131)
When I am advanced in years and look back on my life; I will have the confident assurance that I have done what He called me to. I have fought the good fight, my particular fight, and I have finished the race!